Synagogue

20 Kossuth Lajos Street, Keszthely 

The synagogue, which is waiting for interior renovation, can be found at the end of the courtyard of the Pethő or Goldmark House. It was built on the place of the Jewish house at Pethő corner around 1870 according to the plans of Kristóf Hofstädter. It was reconstructed in 1852, and it received an Eclectic-style facade in 1894.  Facing the facade, there is a dark, black obelisk.

Previously, the building and the area belonged to the Pethő Family, who became the landowners of Keszthely in 1427 through a royal donation. In 1739, Kristóf Festetics bought this house together with the other lands of the Pethős.

According to a map made in 1769, the "Jewish House" on the main street was still rectangular - with a prayer house on its courtyard. In 1870, it was replaced by the synagogue, which, along with the Rabbi's house, was built based on the plans of Kristóf Hofstädter. The synagogue was reconstructed in 1852, and it received an Eclectic-style facade in 1894. Originally, the synagogue was not accessible through Pethő House, but from Fejér György Street through a narrow lane where the Jewish school was also located. (Today, 5 Fejér György Street) The inner space is surrounded by the women's gallery, propped by cast-iron columns, on three sides. The first period of its construction, the architectural forms of classicism are represented by the side elevation wall and the east wall of the synagogue. In 1936, at the end of the site, which was parallel to the main street, a Jewish community house (alms-house) was built. Today, old, lonely community members live here. According to József Bonz's book ‘The monograph of Keszthely town', the first Jews settled in the land of the Festetics Family around 1700. Today, the Synagogue is accessible through the courtyard of the afore-mentioned Pethő House (22 Kossuth Lajos Street), which has a medieval origin but was completely rebuilt in the Baroque era. In the early 1800's, the Goldmark Family, whose members were in the Festetics Family's service, lived in this building, which belonged to their land. Károly Goldmark, the famous composer was born here on 18th May 1830.  Next to the synagogue, under the Rabbi's flat, there are the winter chapel and the community's office. Today there is a gloomy, black marble obelisk in front of the facade, which reminds us to the fact that there was a ghetto here in 1944, whose inhabitants were deported to Zalaegerszeg and then to Auschwitz. In the infamous death camp, the Fascists executed 829 inhabitants of Keszthely. A hundred and two black and white marble slabs placed on the walls of the synagogue treasure their memories. The few survivors immortalised the names of their murdered loved ones on these marble slabs.  The Germans used the synagogue as a stable. Its famous organ, built in 1898 by the renowned organ-builder, Sándor Ország Jr., and also used by Cantor Rubin Goldmark, was knocked down.
Smaller renovation works were carried out in the 30s, in 1945 and in 1967. Renewal began in 1993 and on July 7, 1995, in the presence of President Árpád Göncz, Chief Rabbi Tamás Raj re-opened the synagogue. In 1997, the decoration paintings and exterior renovations were completed.

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